11/23/2007 12:00AM

McCann's Mojave on way back to Sunshine Millions

EmailMcCann's Mojave's victory in the $150,000 All American Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 17 was not the richest win of the 7-year-old horse's career. The purse was just a fraction of the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic that McCann's Mojave won in a 33-1 upset at Gulfstream Park last January.

The Grade 3 All American was not his most prestigious victory, a distinction achieved with a victory in the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita in 2004.

But the win had its own significance to owner-breeder Mike Willman. McCann's Mojave not only became a multiple graded stakes winner with the victory, but showed that he has rebounded from a bleeding incident earlier this year that left Willman and trainer Steve Specht concerned about the horse's future.

"I kind of had butterflies," Willman said of his feelings before the race. "Not only did he not bleed, he ran one of the best races of his career."

By Memo, McCann's Mojave, 7, won the All American Handicap at 1 1/8 miles by a neck over Putmeinyourwill. The win was the seventh stakes victory in a career that includes 11 wins in 29 starts and earnings of $1,346,555.

Even though he just won a graded stakes, McCann's Mojave will revert to statebred company for the next few months, Willman said. The next goal is the $100,000 On Trust Handicap for California-breds at 7 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 22. Then, Willman and Specht are hopeful that McCann's Mojave can defend his title in the Sunshine Millions Classic for California-breds and Florida-breds at Santa Anita on Jan. 26.

McCann's Mojave will be looked upon as a top hope for the California-bred team in the Sunshine Millions Classic, since the multimillionaire Lava Man is sidelined following a poor run of form.

The All American was McCann's Mojave's second start since a last-place finish in the Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on June 2, the day he bled. He was fourth beaten a length in the Grade 3 Morvich Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita on Oct. 27.

In addition, the All American was McCann's Mojave's first start on a synthetic track. The early indications are that he may like the Cushion Track surface at Santa Anita.

"When he came down for the Morvich, they said that he skipped across the Cushion Track and loved it," Willman said. "I think everything is fine."

Willman said that McCann's Mojave will race through 2008 and is expected to go to stud in California in 2009.

Shaggy Mane to stay in training

Shaggy Mane, the winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park last January, will stay in training in 2008, trainer Don Chatlos said Friday.

Her first goal will be a defense of her Sunshine Millions title at Santa Anita on Jan. 26, Chatlos said.

Owned by a partnership that includes IEAH Stables, Shaggy Mane ended 2007 with an eighth in the Presque Isle Downs Masters in September and seventh in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26.

A winner of 6 of 13 starts and $391,671, Shaggy Mane is winless in four starts since the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, but was a game second to fellow California-bred River's Prayer in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder in July.

Chatlos said that the 2008 Princess Rooney will be Shaggy Mane's main goal next summer, with the hope that she can gain a Grade 1 stakes win.